Welcome! I am glad you are here. Join me with a cup of your favorite beverage and see what is going on in my life and what is on my mind. I would love to have you join my site and you can do that on the left side where it says 'followers'. And please leave a comment! Thanks for visiting.

Friday, February 28, 2014

Pinterest Projects - Two

The doll blankets did not take long. Another thing my granddaughter had asked for before Christmas was leg warmers. I finally found a pattern I thought she might like, and this is what I ended up with.

I must apologize for the poor pictures. I think I mentioned before that I am not the greatest picture taker, and I am not taking the time to take more to get the perfect picture right now. The bottom picture is actually the first one I took and the sun was shining in the window, but only covered part of the leg warmers. So then I closed the shade again to take the rest of the pictures, making for a dark room but better flash. I will explain the blue item tomorrow.

The pattern for the leg warmers is found here.

The pattern is for adult size using regular 4 ply yarn. I had plenty of the baby yarn left from the doll afghan so used that and a smaller crochet hook, and hope they are small enough to fit my granddaughter. If not, a ring can be attached to to the top and used for plastic bag holders, as per the suggestion of the person who made the others! Or maybe her older sister could wear them if she would be interested. The instructions do include how to measure the leg and adjust the pattern to fit it, but since my granddaughter lives 160 miles away, I decided to just go ahead and hope they fit. If not, I will make her another pair after measuring, providing she likes them, or even unraveling these and starting over.

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Pinterest Projects

How many of you are Pinterest followers? How many of the things you pinned have you actually tried? I have to admit that I pin. . . . and pin. . . and pin, and never actually get around to making anything. It is sort of like all the recipes I tear out of magazines and newspapers that end up in a box or file and never made. At least on Pinterest they are much easier to find back and don't take up any space in my house!

During the Olympics I actually got a few Pinterest Pins tried. Applause, please!

When I watch so much television, I have to do something to release my guilt for spending all that time and not getting other work done, so I create by keeping my hands busy with needlework. Usually it is knitting the caps for Goodwill whenever I have the yarn available. I have made so many of them that I don't have to think about what I am doing. In fact, I can almost do it with my eyes closed, except I end up splitting the yarn in a stitch, or missing a stitch here and there. But that does mean that I can see what is happening on TV.

This time I worked on some things my granddaughter had asked for. Last summer she had asked me to make a blanket (afghan) for her American Girl doll, but I had totally forgotten that until she asked me in January if I remembered it. Oops! So off to Pinterest Land. And I found only one crocheted doll afghan specifically designed for the AG doll. Along with many, many more patterns for dresses, other clothes and accessories for that doll. In fact whole boards devoted to patterns for that doll. I knew the doll was popular, but not aware how much so. She has taken over Barbie that was the big deal when my girls were little. And after that it was the Cabbage Patch dolls, not only making the clothes for them, but also making the dolls.

Back to my projects. First I had to decide what I wanted to make right now, then had to print the patterns. Then I started on the afghan and ended up making two of them since I had plenty of yarn. One might get included in a gift pack of AG doll items to be donated to the church auction next year.

The free pattern can be found at this link:

I wanted to use the same yarn that was used in the pattern sample, but that yarn has been discontinued by the manufacturer, so I used Bernat baby yarn. The bottom picture is not the best, but is meant to show both blankets. 

The afghan I used under the items is an old one, and has been a very popular pattern over the years. I lost count on how many I made like that. The one in the picture is the first one I made of this pattern, and is over 25 years old. It has been washed at least a hundred times and still looks good as new. It also happens to be the favorite pattern that Felix loves to sleep on. I wonder if that is because he came from my daughter and she had one of these afghans in her house from the time he was a young cat. ??

For the next project, tune in tomorrow!

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Ketchup Time

I just couldn't resist the play on words here. Actually it is 'catch up' time. The Olympics are finally over. They took up most of my time for the past 2 weeks. Plus, while I was watching the Games, I was also taping my favorite shows that were on at the same time, and watching my two soaps in real time. That was a LOT of TV watching! And. . . the Daytona 500 race was on at the same time as the Olympics! Who scheduled that anyway! At first I was taping the Olympics and watching the race, but the race can sort of go 'slow,' if you know what I mean. There are lots of commercials and breaks that I don't need to watch, so I switched to taping the race. I am sure glad I did because there was a really, really long rain delay and the race wasn't over until late that night. I did get to see the end of the race 'live' and was happy to see Dale Earnhardt, Jr win. His dad was one of my favorites.

I took the last couple of days to catch up on all the taped shows, so now I need to catch up on my dirty house and other things that were put on the shelf the last two weeks, including this blog.

I took some photos of projects today and have uploaded them to the computer, so will be working on blog posts for awhile today, and schedule them for future dates, so be on the lookout for them.

This is all you are going to get today. :o) Check back tomorrow to see what I actually did get done while watching Olympics.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Reading Books

I enjoy reading books, but I don't make the time to read them like I used to because I have so many other projects I am working on right now. Genealogy, genealogy, Olympics, email, blogging, genealogy. And did I mention genealogy? Yes, I am preoccupied with that subject!

A quick paragraph here about that last subject before I move on to the book. I recently received a letter from someone in Switzerland! She is also researching the same ancestors in Pommern, Germany that I am! Somehow we must be distant relatives. I contacted her by email but she was within two hours of leaving on a two week vacation so I have to wait to find out more about her, as well as the ancestors. This all happened after I had put the genealogy to the side for awhile. Now I am back into it again.

As far as books, I usually try to do a little reading when I go to bed. Some nights it is only a page or two before my eyes close - with the book still resting on my stomach and the light on! Not long ago I ordered a 'free' Kindle with reward points from doing online surveys. It is not one of the fancy ones that can access the internet, but can only go to Amazon to download books with wi-fi.

So far I have only downloaded free books. I don't check the site very often so I am sure I have missed some good books that were free for one day, but that is okay. I have plenty on the Kindle to keep me reading for quite awhile. 

One of those free books was the one in the picture above, "Where is God When it Hurts?" by Phillip Yancey. I found it quite interesting. I have often said that we need rain in order to appreciate the rainbow, and that is essentially what Phillip is saying. He goes into some depth of explaining why pain is a good thing, especially physical pain. Pain is the signal our body sends to tell us something isn't right and we might have to pull back. Pain tells us the fire is hot and not to get any closer or get out immediately. Also, the reason people with leprosy are missing fingers, toes, or more is that they lose all feeling so are not aware that they might have cut their foot, or hand, and it becomes infected and eventually lost. So pain is important in our lives. All kinds of pain. I think most will agree that when we go through something painful in our lives, whether it be divorce, someone we love dies, problems at work, etc, it helps us to grow, to do better next time.

This book is worth reading if you haven't read it by now. It has been around for awhile, but it wasn't one that I had a chance to read before.

I have since started another e-book, which title escapes me at the moment. It is based on some of the reality tv shows. Survivor comes to mind because it involves two camps that meet once a week for a competition and the losers have to vote someone off. The story is an interesting concept, and maybe someone will create a reality show from it! It is a fairly quick read - providing I don't fall asleep before reading more than 2 pages. It has a 'show-mance,' too, and people get injured. And naturally, I have to finish the book to find out who wins the big prize in the end! And whether the guy gets the girl after the show ends.

Saturday, February 15, 2014

More Valentine Artwork

This is more of my mother's cousin's art work. It is bigger than the small postcards that she had also sent to Mom. It is done on heavy card stock, and then she must have folded it up to fit in the envelope, which caused the creases. She wrote on the back that she had trouble drawing the man. Her art work is all done in ink.

I like to do pencil drawings from time to time, but my 'talent' is nothing like this. Give me a picture of something and I will attempt to draw a copy of it. My 9 year old granddaughter is well on her way to being the artistic one in the family now.

Friday, February 14, 2014

Happy Valentine Day

I would love to be somebody's valentine. 
Will you be mine?
Happy Valentine's Day!

This is a postcard done by the artist among my relatives from years ago. I have no idea what the date was, but am guessing probably in the 1930's. It was my mother's cousin in St. Louis who did the artwork. I assume she worked at a greeting card company, doing some of the card designing. And I can only assume because I have no one to ask. She had sent several different post cards like this for different occasions. I will be posting the others here now and then, so if you like this sort of thing, be sure to check back.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Instant Chai Tea Mix

We have finally gotten out of the frigid freezer! At least it has stayed above zero yesterday and today, even though it is still cold at a high of 18 degrees, no sun, but also no wind. No wind is such a treat here in the Midwest, especially after a day of sustained winds of 25 mph. I did wake up to an inch of new snow however.

One inch of snow here is nothing! I know it stops everything in the South, but we are well prepared for much more than this. In fact, I heard several plows and/or sanding trucks from Iowa went to the southern states to help with the ice and snow from latest storm. We are always willing to help those in need.

Now to the Chai Tea mix. Even thought it has warmed up, it is still not WARM! So a hot drink is always welcome. I gave you the recipe for instant vanilla cafe coffee mix, but sometimes I want a change, and I love chai tea. I used to be able to buy a large canister of some really good chai tea mix in Sam's but they didn't have it the last couple times I was there, and my daughter can't find it in Sam's in Omaha either. This recipe is very good and much more economical than what you can buy.


1 cup nonfat dry milk powder
1 cup non-dairy creamer powder
1 cup vanilla flavored non-dairy creamer powder
2 1/2 cups granulated sugar (use your favorite sugar-free substitute if watching                sugar intake)
2 cups unsweetened instant tea
2 teaspoons ground ginger
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground cloves
1 teaspoon ground cardamom

NOTE: You can adjust spices to taste; this is a ballpark amount. Can also add a shake of black pepper, since this is often an authentic ingredient.

In a large bowl, mix together all powders except spices. Blend spices in a small bowl, then sprinkle into large bowl and mix well. In a blender or food processor, blend 1 cup at a time until mixture is the consistency of fine powder. (NOTE: Be careful with this, because it won't pulverize if you try to do too much at once, and if you open at the wrong time, or spill it, the sticky powder goes everywhere.)

Store in airtight container. To serve, stir 2 heaping spoonfuls into a cup of hot water, or more to taste.

As I said with the instant coffee mix, I am lazy so usually don't pulverize, but be warned the the spices might not be as fine in your drink.

There is a huge spider in my tea!!

No, I think that is a star anise. I am not sure I would want to find this in my cup if someone were to hand it to me, but I found it in some other pictures too, so maybe it is a common garnish?

Monday, February 10, 2014

Happy Anniversary

 In honor of my parents

 Today would be their 82nd wedding anniversary.

Saturday, February 8, 2014

"America's Smartest Car"

I have spent a good share of this morning scanning several old things that I will be sharing here in the future. I have really gotten off my schedule of posting themes, haven't I? For now, I am not going to follow that since I have all these other things I would like to post, so you will be getting whatever I feel like doing. Once I get back to decluttering and more housekeeping (if ever!) I will be reporting on that as well. But for now, you will get what you get! You might get the idea that I am obsessed with 'old things' right now.

Here is the subject for today ~

Isn't this interesting? I never heard of this car, did you? This is the front of a postcard that my grandma sent to my parents on October 11, 1940.

I was curious to know more about this car so found this site online and added the link here in case you would like to check it out, too.


As I googled the name, this picture is one that came up! It was their advertising in 1940. I find it interesting that Mom kept this as the message on the back was nothing special other than I think she included a belated happy birthday to Mom since the postmark was several days after her birthday, and had to come to Iowa all the way from California. You remember the term 'penny post card'? It has a one cent stamp on it. I wonder how long it took to get here in those days.

Friday, February 7, 2014

Faith Friday

This is being published on Friday, but I am writing this Monday morning. I was able to finally get to church yesterday, after not being able to get there for what seems like months. Either bad weather, snow/ice on streets and sidewalks making walking impossible for me, or just that my body refusing to move beyond a few feet has kept me home and watching church services on television from other churches in town. So it was a huge treat and blessing to be able to worship with friends, take communion, and then visit with my friends after the service over a cup of coffee. It was also  the church's annual meeting after the service, where we elected some new elders and deacons for the year. There was no new business - no more building or remodeling projects lined up for this year, which is very rare since we have had that on the agenda for over 10 years. That was all finished this past year and all that is left is to finish paying for it. I was also able to take my auction items in to be displayed, and to be there in time for the auction on Wednesday night. I hope to get to the auction but weather will play a big part in that as well. I also don't like to drive at night, but since I only have a few blocks to go, I think I can handle it. The biggest problem is being able to park close enough to the doors so that I don't have far to walk.

What I really wanted to write about today is the prayer of confession that we used during the service. The sermon was about the Beatitudes and the prayer of confession was based on the Beatitudes. I found them very though provoking and true and thought you might find the same thing. I pray that you find them prodding your conscience as they did mine, and that they might give you some guidelines to living a better Christian life.



L(Leader): God blesses those who realize their need for him,
 for the kingdom of heaven is given to them.
P(People's response): But we have been proud in spirit, inflated with pride in our own self-sufficiency. We have forgotten how needy we are.

L: God bless those who mourn,
     for they will be comforted.
P: But we have not mourned over our sins,
     instead we have insulated ourselves from those around us, 
     from their pain, needs, loneliness, and suffering.
     We have even hardened ourselves so that we are unaware that our own            lives cause grief to the Lord.

L: God blesses those who are gentle and lowly,
    for the whole earth will be their inheritance.
P: But we have valued toughness over gentleness. 
    We have too often chosen to be concerned with ourselves
    rather than with our brothers and sisters and neighbors.
    Like the prodigal son, we want to satisfy ourselves 
    rather than our Father.

L: God blesses those who are hungry and thirsty for justice,
    for they will receive it in full.
P: But we have hungered after the pleasures,
    prestige, and possessions of this temporal world.
    Like Esau, we have despised our birthright
    by choosing to satisfy our immediate desires.

L: God blesses those who are merciful,
    for they will be shown mercy.
P: But we have often presided as harsh judges
    over the lives of others.
    We have been quick to place blame
    on anything or anyone but ourselves.
    We have avoided obligations to care for
    or to help people in need.

L: God blesses those whose hearts are pure
    for they will see God.
P: But we have defiled our hearts
    with idols of our own choosing, doubting that
    God will keep his Word and his promises.
    We continually compromise the truth
    by trying to find meaning and security 
    in our jobs, our friends, our pleasures, our projects--
    But not in God.

L: God blesses those who work for peace,
    for they will be called the children of God.
P: But we are often at war with one another.
    In a thousand little ways we demand to be catered to.
    We seldom esteem others as more important than ourselves.
    We often create strife by demanding our way
    rather than by walking in God's Spirit.

L: God blesses those who are persecuted
    because they live for God,
    for the kingdom of heaven is theirs.
P: But we have too often retreated 
    from the disapproval of others.
    We've sought to please the world rather than
    risking the disapproval of those who need the Messiah.
    We regard rejection for righteousness
    as a burden to be borne, rather than
    an honor to be humbly received.

L: Lord, please show us your mercy.
P: Lord, have mercy upon us
    in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Amen


There are two things I ask for every day - mercy and grace. It is by these two things that I have salvation. It is by these two things that I have all that I have. It is by these two things that I am blessed each and every day. God gives us exactly what we need for each day of our lives - no more and no less, just as He did for the Israelites in the wilderness regarding manna. They were to gather just what they needed for the day. If they took more, the extra became inedible.

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Instant Coffee Mix

As I was searching for a picture of coffee to add to this post, lo and behold, I found this! What could be more perfect that a red heart shaped cup for February? Notice the two handles on the cup. I am not quite sure how you would drink out of this cup. What do you think?

Since so much of the country is still having some extremely cold temperatures, I thought you might like to try this. I love the General Foods International Coffee mixes but they get expensive. Some time ago I found some mixes at hillbillyhousewife.com that are very good. Here is one of my favorites.


1/3 cup instant coffee
1 cup instant dry milk powder
1/2 cup powdered coffee creamer
1/3 cup sugar
1/4 cup store-bought instant vanilla pudding mix

Measure all of the ingredients into a clean, dry bowl. Use a fork to combine everything evenly. If you are ambitious, you can powder everything in a blender. I don'r always do this because I am lazy. You do get really impressive results from it though, and it is easier to do than one would expect. Transfer the mixture to a resealable container, or a pretty jar. This makes a good gift, especially in the winter time.

To Prepare: Place 1/4 cup of dry cafe mix into a coffee cup. Add hot water to fill up the cup (about 3/4 cut hot water). Stir and serve. You will have to adjust the amount if you use the large mugs like I do.

The comment about being lazy is hers, not mine, but I am also lazy so have never put it in the blender, mainly because I don't like washing the blender afterward. If I had a dishwasher I might do it.

You can even make this almost sugar free by using the equivalent amount of a sugar substitute. I am not sure about using sugar free pudding mix since the measurement would not be the same. It could be worth experimenting with it. If anyone tries that, let us know in the comments how much sugar free pudding you used. This is even more frugal if you use store brand products.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Hearty Potato Soup

I tried this new recipe today. I clipped it from the latest Penzey's catalog. I only made half the recipe since I am alone, and not sure that it would freeze well. I just finished a bowl of this, and am about ready to have a second. It is very good! And a treat on a cold evening.


  • 4 medium potatoes (about 2 lbs.), peeled and cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 4 ribs celery (including leaves), chopped
  • 5 carrots, peeled and chopped
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 3 Cups water
  • 1-2 tsp. WHOLE CELERY SEED
  • 1/4 tsp. CAYENNE PEPPER
  • 1/2-1 tsp. salt, to taste
  • 1/4-1/2 tsp. PENZEYS FRESHLY GROUND PEPPER, to taste
  • 6 Cups milk, divided (the Marconnets use whole milk)
  • 2 TB. cornstarch
  • 11/2 Cups corn kernels
  • 5 pieces bacon, cooked crisp and broken into pieces


In a medium soup pot (uncovered) over medium-high heat, cook the potatoes, celery, carrots and onions in water until tender and the water has mostly cooked off, about 15-20 minutes. Stir frequently. Add CELERY SEED, CAYENNE, salt and PEPPER and stir well. Add 53/4 cups milk and stir well, reserving 1/4 cup in a small bowl. To the reserved milk, add the cornstarch and mix until all lumps are gone; slowly pour into the soup while stirring. Heat the soup until near boiling, stirring constantly, for 1-2 minutes until the soup starts to thicken, then reduce heat to medium-low. Add the corn and bacon. Let cook 10 minutes. Serve with your favorite crackers.

Prep. time: 20 minutes
Cooking time: 45 minutes
Serves: 10-12

Monday, February 3, 2014

February, the Month of Red, Pink and White

February is the month we lean toward desserts with a red and white theme. Here is one that I tried recently. It was posted by Pillsbury on their Facebook page, and if it sounds like cheese cake, plus cherry pie filling, I am there!! This is an easy recipe, and though rich because of the cream cheese, I found it not to be overly sweet, but good enough to eat. . . . and eat. . . . and eat.


1 (8 oz.) tube crescent rolls (8 crescent rolls are in one tube)
12 oz. (1 1/2 blocks) cream cheese, softened
3/4 cup granulated sugar (divided use)
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 (21 oz. ) can cherry pie filling
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, melted

Preheat oven to 350 F degrees.
Spray an 8x8 baking dish with nonstick cooking spray.

Unroll the crescent rolls. Line four (4) of the crescent rolls in the bottom of the baking dish.
Spread them out and cover the bottom of your baking dish. Seal the seams as best as possible.

Next, combine cream cheese and 1/2 cup sugar. Beat with an electric mixer until smooth.
Then add in vanilla extract and mix again.
Spread cream cheese mixture over crescent rolls in the baking dish.

Then pour pie filling on top of cream cheese layer. Spread it around evenly.

Finally, top with remaining crescent roll dough.
Do your best to stretch it out on top and seal the seams of the crescent rolls.

Pour melted butter on the top of the crescent rolls. Then sprinkle 1/4 cup sugar evenly over the melted butter. Bake for about 35-45 minutes.
Top crust should look crusty and be golden brown in color.

Slice and serve. This must be kept refrigerated if not eaten the same day its made.

In this picture it looks like I could have taken it out of the oven a little sooner, but it was still delicious. As you can see, I didn't quite get the crescent dough stretched out to the edges. It was a little hard to manipulate without pulling holes in it. But maybe that is because my hands don't work as well as they used to? I have seen ads for the crescent dough that comes in a solid sheet instead of perforated for individual rolls, so that might work better. I have not seen it in the store here so far, unless I missed it.

The recipe calls for unsalted butter but I rarely buy that. I don't remember  my mom ever using it either and she was a great cook and baker. I just used regular salted butter. I am not a purest or perfectionist when it comes to cooking and this was 'good enough'. I don't think anyone would push it away unless they just don't like desserts. Period.

Sunday, February 2, 2014

February 2 - Groundhog Day

If you are from America, you know what Groundhog Day is. I know I have at least one Australian reader, and there may be others from other countries, who may not know about our American tradition every February 2.

We depend on a groundhog to come out of his burrow and predict if we will have 6 more weeks of winter or if spring is right around the corner. He has been named Punxsutawney Phil and the event makes national news.

Here is what I found about the day ~ ~

The legend of Groundhog Day is based on an old Scottish couplet: "If Candlemas Day is bright and clear, there'll be two winters in the year."
Every February 2, people gather at Gobbler's Knob, a wooded knoll just outside of Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania.
Residents contend that the groundhog has never been wrong.
The ceremony in Punxsutawney was held in secret until 1966, and only Phil's prediction was revealed to the public. Since then, Phil's fearless forecast has been a national media event.
The groundhog comes out of his electrically heated burrow, looks for his shadow and utters his prediction to a Groundhog Club representative in "groundhogese." The representative then translates the prediction for the general public.
If Punxsutawney Phil sees his shadow, it means six more weeks of winter. If he does not see his shadow, it means spring is just around the corner.
Approximately 90% of the time, Phil sees his shadow.
Phil started making predictions in 1887 and has become an American institution.
We, who are very tired of winter by this time, always hope that P. Phil does NOT  see his shadow! I just read in a local newspaper that this winter is in the running for one of the coldest winters on record, so we are so very ready for spring and warmer temperatures. Unfortunately, today is sunny here so any groundhog in this area WILL see his shadow.

This always reminds me of an old tongue twister because a groundhog is also called a woodchuck.

How much wood
would a woodchuck chuck, 
if a woodchuck
could chuck wood?

As much wood
as a woodchuck would, 
if a woodchuck 
could chuck wood.

The groundhog/woodchuck is a large rodent. I had never seen one until I was visiting my son in Virginia a few years ago. We took a drive along part of the Blue Ridge Mountain Parkway and happened to see one among the trees. My son and wife had seen one before but did not know what it was and I didn't either since we are all Iowan born and raised. Later they found out it was a groundhog, so I can add that to my list of animals seen in the 'wild'.